Posing Nude After Breast Cancer. . . Would You Do It??Blogs-contributors, Life After Cancer — By Cathy Bueti on October 29, 2009 at 5:37 am
I came upon this story on MSNBC about a 49 year old UK woman who turned down Playboy 30 years earlier and recently posed nude after her mastectomy and reconstruction. She is wanting to raise awareness and give hope to other survivors. This got me to thinking about whether or not seeing another woman’s breast cancer scars is necessarily the best way to do that.
A couple of years ago I was contacted by a freelance writer who was working on an article about young survivors who had breast reconstruction and wanted to share the stories of how they felt about their breast cancer scars. I gladly went through the interview and was excited to be able to share my emotional experience. My excitement quickly turned to anxiety when I found out after the fact that the writer wanted me to pose topless for the article. I decided not to do it. I had enough trouble looking at myself in the mirror and just wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing that image with strangers who would be seeing my scarred boobs at their local newsstand. Now that is not to judge those who do choose to do just that. It was not the right choice for me. And I also question other than the shock factor to sell magazines how much that could help other women. To me I felt as though the story and emotion I could bring forth through words could help just as much.
I was very disappointed to find out that said writer decided to not include my story in her article because I would not pose topless. It made me feel as though my story was not as important as the shocking boob images she wanted to include possibly to garner attention for her article. I couldn’t help but wonder whether other survivors felt the same. It made me wonder whether seeing those types of photos was crucial to raising awarness and whether it could give hope to other women with breast cancer. I felt as though it was exploiting breast cancer survivors just as magazines like Playboy have exploited women for many years. I think that a woman choosing to pose topless after cancer and using it as she sees fit is a personal choice however when magazines seek out survivors to pose topless for their articles it just comes off exploitative to me.
During breast cancer month I have see many a glossy with topless photos of women with breast cancer and wonder if it is really benefiting other women or serving to increasing sales for that magazine. If a woman gets diagnosed with breast cancer she will most likely see a plastic surgeon who will gladly show her before and after shots of women who have had mastectomies and reconstruction. That is what my doctor did for me. I just don’t think it needs to be in a magazine at the local newsstand.
Would you ever pose topless after breast cancer? Do you think that topless photos of survivors gives others hope? Do you feel as though magazines are exploiting breast cancer survivors by doing this? What do you think motivated this woman to pose nude after she had breast cancer?
Cathy Bueti is the author of Breastless in the City. Visit her at www.cathybueti.com